aucuba

Discussion in 'Woody Plants' started by Loulou, Oct 25, 2009.

  1. Loulou

    Loulou Member

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    My aucuba japonica (planted outside in my shade garden) now has all the leaves drooping down.

    There is no colour change - still good green with golden spotting - but why are the leaves drooping? We have had tons of rain and I have also watered it extra.

    It sits beneath a couple of old large red cedars in North Delta BC. Any help would be most welcome!
     
  2. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Might actually be too wet at the root. Poke around in the soil next to it to get an idea what the situation is.
     
  3. Loulou

    Loulou Member

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    Hi Ron
    Here are 3 photos I have just taken of the aucuba.

    I live in a rainforest and this plant I started from another old planting I found on a neighbouring garden when the bulldozers were coming! At that time it had only 2 small branches with about 10 leaves.

    In other words, it has thrived in my garden so far. I don't think too much water is the problem as it is a constant condition here.

    Thanks in advance for any helpful hints.
    Lou
     

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  4. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Delta has a significant summer dry period same as down here. Under conifers on some sites the soil will be droughty throughout the year. Have you inspected the soil? The top will be collapsing because it is not getting enough water, either due to drying of the soil around the roots or rotting of the roots by water molds or drowning of the roots.
     
  5. janetdoyle

    janetdoyle Active Member 10 Years

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    I have to confirm what Ron says, although much more from a beginner-gardener's standpoint, or layperson's standpoint... where I live in Saanich there is a stand of Western Red Cedar right next to my townhouse, and it is as dry as a bone under there even in heavy rain... nothing would grow... I even find dry soil at the bottom where I can dig, in surprising areas of my garden right under the sky! For a person from Nova Scotia, this is totally strange. Where the water goes, I don't know. I guess it certainly goes up the W. Red Cedar tree trunk to the crown of the tree, however... I'd be interested to hear what the soil looks like under the Aucuba. Perhaps someone dumped some chemical there...
     
  6. Loulou

    Loulou Member

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    I just went and poked around under the aucuba and dug a little under and yes, found it quite dry. So I have now watered it well and will wait to see if there is any improvement.

    The top of the ground near the plant was heavy with the needles that fall from the cedars - no rain would get to it I am guessing, so it would depend on runoff for water?

    Should I be amending that soil with topsoil, compost or what? I have only ever put compost in the area of the aucuba.
     
  7. janetdoyle

    janetdoyle Active Member 10 Years

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    I couldn't tell from your photo if you have many red cedars or just a few -- I have quite a few large ones, and the soil seems so thin and compacted around their rooty base, that only a bit of grass and some moss seems to grow there, I couldn't even dig into it to amend the soil in most places.

    If you have some areas nearby in which you can dig, you might try lifting them and redoing the soil underneath with a composty soil with lots of "humus" or decayed plant matter in it to hold moisture, and add it to sufficient depth. You may have to trim off some of the top tips to re-start the plant thicker or it may look stringy for a year or so. Or, you might give up on shrubs underneath there altogether and try some groundcovers and moss, create a small Japanese-garden style enclave with a few well-chosen rocks, and move the aucuba to another spot on your property -- I've seen them do well in a fair amount of sun... but make sure the soil is humusy and composty and water well.
     

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